Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - April 28

Read the transcript of Ted Thompson’s press conference after selecting Justin Harrell with the 16th overall pick in the first round.

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(Why Justin Harrell?)

Justin Harrell. We felt like he was the best value on the board. We felt like anytime you have a chance to get a quality defensive lineman of his ability, you have to think about taking him. We felt very good about him starting a couple weeks ago, when it starts coming together and you try to work through different scenarios, who might be available, who might not be available, and we felt very comfortable with him.

(Are you concerned about the injuries during his career, and did you bring him up here to check him out?)

No. We saw him at the Combine with our medical staff and they felt very good about where he is. He had I think it was a torn bicep this year that he tried to play on after the start of the season. He had surgery on it and it's fine. I think he bench pressed 24 times even though he hadn't been able to lift much.

(Were there any offers to move up from teams looking to grab Brady Quinn?)

There were a few offers. I don't know about who they were after, they don't tell you that. But we had a few offers, none of them we felt were real value. We felt pretty strongly about taking Justin. We didn't want to go back too far. We thought we could have maybe gone back a few spots but nothing that was worth taking the risk.

(Did you seriously consider Brady Quinn at that spot?)

We considered everybody that's on our board. We just felt that the best pick for us was Justin Harrell.

(You have a lot of defensive tackles already. How will he fit in?)

I think he'll fit in very good with our guys. We like having a lot of good defensive linemen, and we felt for the last month or so we felt very strongly that we'd like to add another young guy with our group because we think we have good leadership in that group and these guys will help this young man come along. But he's a good citizen and a good man, that's what I told the people out in the Atrium who booed me, by the way.

(Considering the injury history, do you think you could have moved down a little bit and still had a real good shot at this guy?)

You never know. We felt very comfortable taking him at that point. Now, would we consider moving down if it was a trade good enough? Yeah maybe. But like I said we had calls from I think five different teams and none of them was warranted in terms of taking that risk.

(Can he stay on the field in the nickel and dime?)

I think he can. He's a good pass rusher from the inside. He's kind of a spread-out defensive lineman. He plays with length, he plays with his arms, he's a great athlete. He's the last player at Tennessee who's ever going to wear the No. 92, and that's how much they thought of him there. So we feel very good that he can play and help us in any facet of the game.

(Did it say something about him that he tried to play through that injury?)

He's a tough guy, he's a legitimate tough guy, a country kid. I think he's from same little town as Chad Clifton. But I think that says something. That's not the reason we drafted him, but I think he's a tough guy.

(Did they really boo you, and does that matter to you?)

You'd rather not, but it's like I told them, I think it's great, because that's what the Green Bay Packers are all about is fans that have passion and they care. We are doing everything we can to make this the best team possible, and if they disagree with our decisions that's OK, just as long as we believe we're doing the right thing, and we can take a few shots.

(If Marshawn Lynch had fallen to 16, would you still have taken Harrell?)

The way our board was set up he would have been a consideration, sure.

(As you prepared for the draft, did you think Lynch would be gone?)

I try not to do too much of that. I thought there was a chance, I don't know. Maybe a Harrell or somebody else, you never know how it's going to fall. When you're 16 there are so many different variations that can happen.

(The fan base wanted offense addressed. What's your level of concern about where your offense is?)

We're going to keep drafting here. Whether they're offensive players or defensive players, we're going to try to stick to our plan and try to do the best we can for the Packers. If we can add good people, whether they're offensive or defensive people, it doesn't really matter. It's adding core value to your team.

(Is your philosophy that defense is a little more important than offense?)

You might think that because we took two defensive players in the first round, but we took an offensive player in the first one. I have a defensive background, and I think you win championships with defense, because you can't win them without a defense, but certainly we pay attention to offensive side of the ball.

(Jacksonville was behind you, and the Broncos traded a third and a sixth to move up four spots. Did they make that same offer to you guys?)

Don't remember if they did, and I don't get too specific about who called, or trades.

(Anything jump out with him?)

He's a man's man so to speak. This is a big man, a country kid from a town. We have all our staff, as you guys know, our director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie is Mr. Tennessee for all of us, he wears that ugly orange all the time. He has tremendous contacts there, he knows all the players there, and that was certainly helpful with that insight.

(What kind of a person is this guy?)

Great guy. Humble, wants to play, wants to be good, understands what it takes in terms of hard work. When I was talking to him upstairs prior to the pick, he said, 'Yeah, I'm ready, you've got my homeboy Chad Clifton up there.' You guys will like him. He's from a small town. I don't really know what town that is. Who knows where Chad Clifton is from? Wherever that is. Martin? Tennessee? Never heard of it.

(Without playing his senior year, do you have anything to judge from that year?)

He played I think the first game or something healthy, and then he played in another game when he was injured. We went back and did a lot of study from the 2005 season.

(Is he strictly a tackle or can he play end?)

He has some versatility. Like I said, he's kind of a long spread out guy. I think certainly in running situations you could do that with him, but I think primarily he'll be a tackle.

{sportsad300}(Where do you think he would have gone had he not been hurt last year?)

I don't know. I think I told the people out there, I was trying to get them to quit booing me, but I think he has the potential to have been a single-digit pick, and you watch him play, once you see him on tape, you can certainly see that, but you never know how it would have worked out.

(What set him apart from the rest of the defensive tackles that were slated to go high?)

We just like the way he played, we like the way he goes about his business. We think he's a real football guy, a good human being, a good guy to add to our locker room, and I think his best football is in front of him.

(Did you have any chance to move up?)

We made some calls, as we always do, fishing, and nobody really seemed to be that interested in coming back. I think it looked like people were kind of zeroed in on needs after about the 7th or 8th pick, and they kind of had their guys pinpointed.

(You said Monday you're not getting ready for mini-camp when you're drafting. Is this indicative of that, because this really wasn't a position of need?)

We don't draft based on needs, and I know that's boring and I hate to be repetitive, but we don't think that's the best policy. We think really and truly that the more good players, good football players, regardless of position that you can add to your team, the better off you are as an organization and as a team.

(Are you concerned about his injury history and especially that injury last year?)

Like I said we saw him at the Combine, our doctors laid their hands on him, done all the x-rays and things like that, and we feel pretty comfortable where he is.

(Did you interview him at the Combine, one of your 60 interviews?)

I say we did, I'm not sure. I know we talked to him, because there's alternate times you can grab guys talk to them too.

(Do you see a trade with Randy Moss happening?)

I never discuss things like that, but it's a good question.

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